Mon 22 Apr 2024

Mārtiņš Sesks set for Rally1 step-up

Latvia’s Mārtiņš Sesks will benefit from the support of WRC Promoter and M-Sport Ford, earning a Rally1 drive behind the wheel of an M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1 for Orlen 80th Rally Poland and a full-spec Rally1 HYBRID on his home stages at Tet Rally Latvia.

Twenty-four-year-old Sesks was confirmed as a recipient of the support this morning (22 April) and now has just over two months to await his Rally1 debut at ORLEN 80th Rally Poland (27 - 30 June).

Sesks’ two-event Rally1 programme marks the first steps in WRC Promoter’s work in supporting drivers in bridging the jump to rallying’s premier category. To run the first event in Poland in a ‘new for 2024’ non-hybrid Puma Rally1 in preparation for a Rally 1 HYBRID in Latvia is designed to fully leverage the stepping stones available to the top class.

A former FIA Junior WRC runner-up in 2020, Sesks has developed into one of the FIA European Rally Championship’s (ERC) elite drivers, excelling on gravel. The Latvian has won the two previous editions of Tet Rally Liepāja, which were run on similar roads to this year’s Tet Rally Latvia. He also claimed victory last summer on Rally Poland when it featured as a round of the ERC.

Remarkably in 2022, Sesks won every stage of Tet Rally Liepāja – mirroring the performance of WRC legend Sébastien Loeb who achieved the same feat at the Tour de Corse in 2005.

“We identified the need to put more resources into supporting the next generation of potential WRC world champions and assisting them in making the challenging step from the support categories to our sport’s highest echelon,” enthused WRC Promoter’s Senior Director of Sport, Peter Thul.

“Mārtiņš’ performances in the past two seasons of the ERC have deemed him a worthy recipient of this support. He has demonstrated a winning edge in Latvia and Poland and we believe that with time, he will become a regular face in the WRC.”

“I’m very pleased to be working on this project with Mārtiņš and WRC Promoter, making use of the new regulations for 2024 allowing us to run the Rally1 cars without the hybrid unit,” expressed M-Sport Ford team principal Richard Millener. “Not to mention this being a more cost-effective solution for customer drivers, it allows drivers like Mārtiņš to make the step up to Rally1 more comfortably so that we can widen the Rally1 field.

“Mārtiņš has an impressive resume and is a perfect candidate for debuting this new non-hybrid strategy. It was a good opportunity to give him the seat time in Poland before competing with full hybrid on his home event. It will be fantastic to see Mārtiņš able to drive the best rally cars in existence in front of his home fans.”

Sesks said: “I am sincerely grateful, as it is a dream come true to join forces with the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team and WRC Promoter for this remarkable opportunity to advance from Rally2 to Rally1 level. I must admit, it takes saying it twice to fully believe that we will soon be competing alongside the world's most elite drivers with Rally1 machinery.

“The journey to this point has been a massive effort of many people, particularly my family, whose rallying legacy dates back to my grandfather's inaugural event in Liepāja in 1965. Now, 59 years later, I have the opportunity to participate in the same rally but as a WRC event.”

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM